Sweden Passes Anti-download Law

STOCKHOLM -– Judged one of the largest per-capita culprits of Internet piracy, Sweden has banned the download of copyrighted material, effective July 1.

This follows measures in the United States and other countries to restrict not only the offering but also the downloading of copyrighted content. Sweden’s law is explicit, however.

While the U.S. has seen some flashy fines imposed on teen downloaders of illegally-copied songs, and U.S. Marshals this week closed down a BitTorrent hub that was offering copies of “Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith,” Sweden has gone a step further by making illegal the creation of software used to circumvent DRM or otherwise hack copyright protections.

While it will still be legal to make personal copies of CDs in Sweden come July, individual blank CDs will carry a tax equivalent to 24 cents.

The photocopying of entire books also is banned, including school textbooks.

The anti-porn group Folktaktionen mot Pornografi (People against Pornography), which has been behind the successful removal of anarchist comic books and many depictions of nudes in this country known for pioneering adult entertainment, was given credit for helping to pass the download law, which was signed Wednesday.